The story trailer for Spider-Man 2 drops hints at Venom’s identity, his origins, and possibly another returning villain.
In case you missed it, Insomniac Games shared a new story-centric trailer for Spider-Man 2 during its San Diego Comic-Con panel on Thursday night.
There was no new gameplay but, for a barely two-minute-long trailer, it’s given fans a much better idea of what to expect from the story; something Insomniac has previously stayed rather tight-lipped about.
So far, all that’s really been said is that it will feature a darker tone, as evidenced by Peter’s new black symbiote suit making him more aggressive, and with Kraven and Venom serving as the two primary antagonists.
Narrative director Jon Paquette has talked about how the symbiote’s presence threatens the lives of Peter, Miles, and their loved ones, as well as how it serves as an allegory for the darker impulses our heroes face, but the literal outline of the story remains very vague beyond ‘stop the bad guys.’
However, the new trailer provides quite a bit of new information and context, as well as several potential hints for what the story could entail. So, we’ve scoured it to see what teasers we could find.
Right off the gate, the trailer reveals that Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn and Peter’s best friend, will be playing a bigger role in the game. In the 2018 original, Harry was otherwise absent and believed to be overseas. However, the post-credits scene revealed he was extremely ill, and his dad is using what’s blatantly the Venom symbiote to keep him alive.
While we very much doubt he’ll come clean about everything to Peter, his ‘It’s a miracle I’m even sitting here’ line and talk of a ‘second chance’ suggests he’ll at least admit to Peter he was ill and has been successfully cured.
Then again, it’s not entirely clear how much he knows about his cure and it’s possible Norman has kept him in the dark regarding the symbiote’s involvement. One shot sees Peter and Norman talking while the symbiote floats behind him, but it’s not clear whether Harry already knew about it or if this is during a scene where he learns of its existence.
At the very least, his friendship with Peter looks to play an important part, as he talks about wanting to ‘heal the world,’ something he needs Peter’s help with. Whether his plans also involve the symbiote is another question entirely.
That said, it seems whatever the cure was hasn’t been completely effective. For a brief moment, Harry can be seen struggling to walk with a cane and a line from Peter in the May gameplay trailer, about Harry dying, suggests he’ll suffer a relapse. This would certainly have an emotional effect on Peter too and that desperation to save his friend will only make him more susceptible to the symbiote’s influence.
The most pressing question about the game’s story is whether Harry will turn into Venom, who is seen at the end of the trailer attacking what seems to be one of Kraven’s copters.
At the moment, all signs point to yes. Harry was bonded to the symbiote and as he looks out over the night-time city, Venom is heard repeating Harry’s ‘We’re going to heal the world’ line. Despite how obvious it is, though, Insomniac has yet to officially confirm who is the human host for Venom.
It’s possible they want to leave some room for doubt, especially for any new players who haven’t touched either the first game or the Miles Morales one. Or perhaps things won’t be that simple.
After all, a core part of the sequel’s gameplay will be Peter’s symbiote suit, which grants him new abilities. If he’s running around wearing it, then how can Harry, or anyone else for that matter, be Venom at the same time?
An obvious answer is that the black suit is temporary, and Peter will lose or get rid of it, leading to it infecting Harry and turning him into Venom. This would explain why Venom would have the white spider symbol and Spider-Man’s powers since that’s how it happened in the comics.
Except, so much of Spider-Man 2’s marketing has been highlighting Peter’s new symbiote powers. It’d be strange for him to only have them for a short while.
The alternative is that Peter doesn’t lose it till right near the very end, but that just means Venom, the most hyped character for the sequel, wouldn’t appear till then either. Why would Insomniac tease a fan favourite bad guy only for him to barely feature?
Perhaps Venom isn’t the only symbiote around or the symbiote used to cure Harry split itself in half, allowing a portion of it to infect Peter while the rest remains with Harry. Venom’s spider powers and symbol could then be a result of further experimentation with spiders. After all, in the first game, the room Harry was contained in also had a radioactive spider, which went on to bite Miles and give him superpowers.
There’s also the matter of whether Venom will be a straight-up villain or an anti-hero. For context, Venom began as the former in the original comics, but his popularity with fans saw him become more sympathetic, just fighting crime in a more violent fashion than other heroes.
Based on what little dialogue he’s had so far, it’s likely that Venom will be trying to achieve Harry’s goals of helping the world, but in such an extreme way that it forces Peter and Miles to fight him.
One thing that can be said for certain is that the symbiote is alien in origin, just like the comics. There was some speculation that it could’ve been man-made, like in Marvel’s alternate Ultimate universe, but a shot in the trailer shows soldiers and a man in glasses (possibly Curt Connors, aka the supervillain known as the Lizard and the scientist that aided Norman in curing Harry) approaching the symbiote amidst a wreckage of some kind, most likely from a meteorite.
It also looks to retain its traditional weakness to loud sounds, as a black-suited Peter loses his grip on the Lizard as it lets out a roar and he’s forced to cover his ears.
Peter’s new job
The PlayStation Blog reveals that Peter is again struggling financially, as he’s drowning in payments for his Aunt May’s house, which he refuses to sell following her death in the first game.
However, the trailer has Miles mention that Peter’s found a new job; one which, from the tone in Miles’ voice, could intrude on his role as Spider-Man. Exactly what the job is is never explained, but it’s very likely that it has to do with Harry’s ‘heal the world’ plan.
This could be a deliberate parallel with Peter’s work helping Doctor Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus in the first game, who also suffered from a debilitating disease. In that game, Peter’s assistance wound up inadvertently helping Octavius with his schemes. Plus, being busy with Spider-Man things meant he was unaware of Octavius’ mental state and his descent into villainy.
It is possible history will repeat itself, although it’d be very dull for the sequel to essentially repeat the first game’s story. Especially since the Miles Morales game also had extremely similar plot beats and themes.
If the job is within OsCorp (Norman’s company), then this may just be an excuse to get Peter within proximity of the symbiote.
There is one shot of Peter in a dinner jacket carrying a fancy food tray, as if he’s waitering at a high-class party, but that’s unlikely to be the kind of job Harry has in mind for him. It’s likely either a temporary gig he has at the beginning of the game or he’s undercover to sneak into somewhere.
Peter and Miles’ relationship
Across the last two games, Peter and Miles have cultivated a friendly mentor/student dynamic, with Peter becoming very supportive of Miles as a second Spider-Man and Miles in turn always eager to work alongside his mentor. However, while the two will be co-protagonists this time, there’re already signs of their friendship becoming frayed.
The May gameplay trailer showed Miles quickly being uncomfortable with Peter’s more aggressive nature, and the newest trailer suggests further friction is inevitable.
Miles seems to express concern about Peter’s new job butting into their ‘tutoring’ which Peter says they’ll just figure out, and one scene has him assuring Peter that he can call Miles whenever he needs to, suggesting Peter’s begun to sideline Miles in their Spider-Man duties or is at least going through a rough patch emotionally.
We’ve seen some fans suggest that things will culminate with a fight between the two Spider-Men as the symbiote further corrupts Peter. At one point in the trailer, Peter’s girlfriend Mary Jane (at least we assume it’s her) seems to tell Miles that Peter isn’t himself and to go help him.
Given the lack of context, it could just be because Peter’s in danger or captured and Miles needs to save him, but we think it’s more likely to be referencing a scene where Peter is just about to go over the edge and Miles needs to knock some sense back into him. Maybe even forcefully remove the symbiote.
Mary Jane stealth sections
Speaking of MJ, it sounds as if she’ll once again play a pivotal role since the PlayStation Blog talks up her own personal struggles with her reporter job, especially now that perennial Spidey hater J. Jonah Jameson is her boss at the Daily Bugle.
With her being talked about with the same importance as Peter and Miles, it’s very likely she’ll be playable too, which means her stealth segments from the first game could be back.
Nothing’s been confirmed, but there may be evidence of this in the story trailer. At one point, MJ is seen hiding behind a wall from none other than Peter himself. Since he has the black suit on, could his corruption get so bad that he starts lashing out at his girlfriend? This could just be a cut scene or maybe there’ll be a section where you play as MJ and have to hide from Spider-Man like he’s a horror game monster.
Mr Negative returns
Martin Li aka Mr Negative was the last character we expected to see return from the original game. While he began as that game’s main antagonist, he was soon sidelined in favour of Doctor Octopus.
He only appears very briefly in the new trailer but despite fighting Peter a number of times in the first game, it seems his involvement will be more intrinsically tied to Miles, which makes sense since Li is responsible for the death of Miles’ dad.
Given Peter will be grappling with the symbiote’s influence, it stands to reason that Miles will have a similar arc, albeit one with no alien goo affecting his mind. His dialogue with Li in the trailer is evidently dripping with hatred; perhaps Miles’ personal struggle will be whether to take revenge by killing Li.
Not to mention Li has his own inner demons, having something of a split personality and a superpower that amplifies negative emotions, so he fits quite well with Spider-Man 2’s themes.
As for whether Li will actually be a villain again, it could really go either way. He looks to have broken out of prison and Peter can be seen helping wounded civilians in the background amid some flaming wreckage. Maybe Li will end up seeking atonement and try to aid the Spider-Men. At the very least, we don’t expect Miles to actually go through with killing him.
First look at Wraith?
Honestly, the most intriguing part of the whole trailer was a single shot of a mysterious figure seen through a giant hole in a wall, surrounded by flames. It barely lasts a second, but it’s safe to assume that this is another unconfirmed villain for Peter and Miles to confront.
They’re only seen as a black silhouette holding chains, which makes us think of the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider from Midnight Suns. However, there’s reason to believe that this is actually Wraith, the alter ego of Yuri Watanabe, Peter’s cop friend from the first game.
In that game’s DLC, their friendship deteriorated and led to Yuri ditching the force to become a vigilante. Unlike Spidey, though, she has no qualms with killing crooks. An easy to miss shot in the May trailer also showed her in costume under the codename Wraith, just like her comic book counterpart, meaning she’s made a name for herself in-between games.
While the silhouetted figure doesn’t have enough defining features to determine their identity, their lean build could certainly fit Wraith. Plus, in the comics, Wraith made use of elastic straps to wrap up enemies and swing through the city like Spidey. The chains could simply be a replacement for them as part of Insomniac’s adaptation of the character.
Much like Li, Wraith would also gel perfectly with Spider-Man 2’s themes, as she succumbed to her own inner darkness to inflict what she believes is justice. If she’s present in the trailer, this could point to her being part of the main story rather than being relegated to a side quest. She could even welcome Peter’s new violent nature and actively encourage it. Or maybe be so unnerved by it that she aids Miles in bringing Peter back to his senses.
Regardless, Spider-Man 2 has left fans with a lot of interesting questions; ones that will be answered in just a few months’ time.
Spider-Man 2 launches for PlayStation 5 on October 20.
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